Liberty

Liberty

Liberty

Liberty

Excerpt

The word "Liberty," which I have with some reluctance chosen to stand as the title of this book, means so many things that it often means almost nothing. I have attempted no abstract discussion or definition but have endeavored to show what those who have most thoughtfully considered the subject throughout the ages have meant by Liberty. I have also discussed the subject in the light of the general philosophy of life and of the psychological and historical facts which form the background of such discussion.

My first thought was to publish a book with the title "A History of Liberty," but many histories of liberty have been written and they are usually dull legalistic discussions, or are rhapsodical accounts of heroic battles for freedom. The impression given is either that liberty exists as a thing in itself in a sort of vacuum or else that an innocent and a pressed humanity knowing well what liberty meant has progressively emancipated itself from unjustifiable tyranny. Humanity once having gained a victory for the rights of man, it is assumed that the crowd has persisted in the love of freedom and has sought only to secure its blessings to the future.

Some such view appears to be taken for granted by most Americans. This is a "free country" as a result of the heroic feats of our ancestors. Liberty has been achieved once for all. The cause of freedom is that of the . . .

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